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Disappointing half year for John Lewis Partnership

For the six months to July 27th, John Lewis Partnership has recorded an underlying pre-tax loss of £25.9 million on revenues of £4.78 billion from John Lewis and Waitrose. The company explained that half year losses were largely due to widening operating losses at John Lewis where sales had fallen by 2.3 per cent. It stated that the second half of the year, which is usually it strongest period, has started with continued challenging trading conditions.

"Should the UK leave the EU without a deal, we expect the effect to be significant and it will not be possible to mitigate that impact,", said Sir Charlie Mayfield, the outgoing chairman of John Lewis Partnership. "Brexit continues to weigh on consumer sentiment at a crucual time for the sector as we enter peak trading period."

Waitose had turned in better results with its underlying earnings up by 14.7 per cent, despite like for like sales dropping by 0.4 per cent. However, we have learned that Waitrose has pulled out of its partnership with Today Development Partners and the plans it had to develop automated customer order fulfilment centres. This had been set in train to grow Waitrose's online business post-Ocado.

"In mid-May, we announced a proposal to explore opportunities around automated online fulfilment with Today Development Partners. We have recently decided not to continue with that relationship and will instead pursue our online ambitions utilising existing expertise across the partnership," said a spokeperson for the retailer.

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